What is a 'gamer' in 2011?
G4's Morgan Webb.
December 27th, 2011
08:54 AM ET

What is a 'gamer' in 2011?

The word "gamer" was more prevalent than ever in our lexicon this year.

Zachary Levi recently chimed in with his theory that everyone is a gamer at some level.

CNN Geek Out recently spoke to hardcore gamer Morgan Webb, host of “X-Play” on G4, and asked her what it means to be a gamer and about the state of gaming in 2011.

“Unfortunately, it is a more confusing word now because there are so many different types of games and so many people playing games from on their cell phones, or on Facebook, or on many other things," she said.

"The word encompasses so many different groups, so it doesn’t really mean as much as it used to. I call myself a gamer, but someone’s mom who plays ‘Farmville’ all the time, maybe she calls herself a gamer too, and she should, because she is. I think we need words to start differentiating the subgroups.”

Webb got into gaming well before "Farmville," of course. Her first console was an Atari 2600, where she played “Combat” and “Plaque Attack” for hours on end. She is also an avowed fanatic when it comes to the “Centipede” arcade game.
Below, more of our chat with Webb about the year in gaming.

CNN Geek Out: This was a year for sequels. Every major title that came out had a number after it. Why is that?

Webb: We’re nearly at the end of a console cycle, so series that have begun at the beginning of the console cycle, they’re starting to finish up the series. People have made the investment in the franchise and they’ve got the art together and they don’t want to create something completely new when new consoles are starting to be on the horizon.

CNN Geek Out: Were there any games that surprised you this year?

Webb: "LA Noire" from Rockstar. Rockstar traditionally makes very good games, but we were surprised and delighted that the game had a very different perspective on the traditional "Grand Theft Auto"-style open world game. That was a great surprise and a great game.

Geek Out: What’s going to be different in the next generation of consoles?

Webb: I think they are going to have a lot of cloud functionality. You’ll be able to play games on the cloud. You’ll definitely be able to have saves on the cloud. They’re going to start transitioning people off of discs. That doesn’t mean they aren’t going to have disc drives because they are. But we’re going to start having consoles with big hard drives that you can gather those games because you’re going to have much better bandwidth. You’re going to be able to download those games more often. They’re going to want to start that transition and start cutting out the actual game stores just like how book stores have been cut out from books. On the gaming side, we going to see very powerful graphics cards and we’re going to see very powerful processors. They’re going to be very powerful computers that are going to sit next to your television and they’re going to be very good prices for what you are going to get.

CNN Geek Out: With the Wii U and the PlayStation Vita coming out next year, is this where we are headed with more motion controls and less button pushing in gaming?

Webb: I think there is room for both. Core gamers - the hardcore gamers who play games like "Gears of War," "Call of Duty," "Assassin's Creed" and Skyrim" - that gamer is definitely more interested in using a controller for a lot of their experiences. The problem is that [with] the [PlayStation] Move, these motion experiences aren’t nuanced enough to actually give the player as much control as they would have with a [regular] controller. For example, if you are swinging a sword on a Wii game, you slash to the right and it does a right slash or slash to the left and it does a left slash, but it doesn’t really track or there is no skill involved. Now you are just standing up there making slashing motions for three hours.

CNN Geek Out: Are the console wars still alive or has the battle moved to specific game titles?

Webb: I think there are people on the Internet who sit there and decide that everything on the PlayStation is awesome and everything on the Xbox is awful and people who think that everything on the Xbox is great and everything on the PS3 is terrible. We call those people trolls. People become emotionally invested in the console they purchase, so that’s the reason they get so attached to it. I think in general most people are saying, "Hey, I have an Xbox and I like it, and lots of good games come out for both consoles." Each console has their exclusives and they are great exclusives on each. The Wii tends to have fewer rabid proponents because it tends to aim for a more casual audience.

While Webb would not name her 2011 Game of the Year, she did have some recommendations that players should pick up if they can:

“The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” – “You have adventures in this world that is very living and you have hundreds and thousands of choices you make and it all seamlessly works together.”

“Uncharted 3” – “This is what we want the ‘Indiana Jones’ movies to be. You are living and playing that ‘Indiana Jones’ treasure hunting experience.”

“Resistance 3” – “A little off the beaten path. It has funky, over-the-top weapons, but funny weapons, weird crazy weapons that you aren’t going to see anywhere else.”

“Saints Row The Third” – “A GTA style game that is hilarious and over-the-top and crazy. Not for kids!”

“Portal 2” – “There are some great puzzles in there.”

Click here for more of CNN's coverage of gaming in 2011.

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  10. Beatrix Kiddo

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    December 30, 2011 at 6:13 am |
  11. Yakobi

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    December 29, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
  12. Beefburger

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    December 29, 2011 at 7:57 am |
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    December 29, 2011 at 7:47 am |
  14. FakeChristoforo

    Im 38 I wwebsite as on the internet

    December 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  15. Royal Lance

    I have one less reason to watch G4 (It was already at zero).

    December 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
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  16. GhostColin

    My Uncle Kyle says video games are making me stupid. I was sitting in my computer room a few weeks ago and my Uncle Kyle came over to watch me, because my parents don't like leaving me alone in the house since the fire happened. Anyway, my Uncle Kyle was like COLIN WHY ARN'T YOU OUTSIDE DOING SOMETHING? GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. And I was like, but Uncle Kyle I just rolled a duel-wielding fire mage and I'm about to enter Bleak Falls Barrow and kill Draugr and my Uncle Kyle was like, COLIN WHAT THE HELL IS A DRAUGR and WHERE THE HELL IS A BARROW? And I was like, Uncle Kyle, come here and I'll show you. And so I did. My Uncle Kyle came huffing into my computer room cause you know, he's kind of fat and coughs a lot. Especially when he's been drinking. And I was like, Uncle Kyle look. See? I made a duel-sword wielding fire mage. And my Uncle Kyle was like COLIN WHAT THE HELL IS THIS? So, I ran up to Bleak Falls but first I got killed by a bandit in the tower on the way up because my Uncle Kyle was breathing on me and he smelled like, well I don't know. But it was like, Uncle Kyle smell. So, I was in Bleak Falls and I got to the part with the three stones you have to turn into snakes or owls and a whale and I was like HEY UNCLE KYLE WATCH, if you click the stones right then you won't get hit by the arrows and my Uncle Kyle was like, WHERE ARE THE GUNS COLIN? And I was like, Uncle Kyle there's no guns in this game. It's Skyrim. There's bows though. You can shoot bows. Magic bows. And then, you know I let my Uncle Kyle try and play and he kept getting killed by the swinging axes but then my Uncle Kyle finally got through the Barrow and I got him back to town and that stoopid guard was like HEY COLIN I WAS AN ADVENTURER LIKE YOU UNTIL I TOOK AN ARROW TO THE KNEE. And I was like, OH OH Uncle Kyle, that's the cool joke now. Everyone says it. And my Uncle Kyle was like, what joke? And I like, to the knee Uncle Kyle, he took an arrow to the knee! Get it? And my Uncle Kyle got up and he did this fake laugh and was like, COLIN SON THIS GAME MAKES YOU STUPID. And I was like, but no. It's got puzzles and it's a smart game and my Uncle Kyle is like, NO SON WATCH. And my Uncle Kyle punched me in the chest and I was crying. And my Uncle Kyle is like, THATS A JOKE SON. FIST TO THE FACE. If this game made you smart, you'd have seen that coming.

    December 27, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Wow Man, like... wow

      Respect for telling it like it is man

      December 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • The Real McCoy

      Son, I am dissapoint

      December 27, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • erockemad

      ...but it's got puzzles!

      Shine on you crazy diamond.

      December 27, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • rh

      Don't use your real name in games, or some family of that Draugr you killed will look you up on the Internet and drive by your house and throw eggs at it.

      December 28, 2011 at 8:26 am |
      • Beefburger

        As long as it is not the +10 Eggs of Choking Froth he should be okay.

        December 29, 2011 at 7:53 am |
  17. erockemad

    All these articles about video gaming, how about other types of games?? There are tons of cool new board and card games out there. Or, better yet, devote some time to my favorite hobby, tabletop RPGs.

    What's a nerd to do without CNN affirming our favorite pasttimes...

    December 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • LOL

      Classic Battletech is the bomb. I love that it has been re-released. Same with Shadowrun.

      December 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • JLS639

      I was thinking the same thing. The gamers I know play some of the video games they mentioned, but also Dominion, Settlers of Catan, EuroRails, Puerto Rico and Ticket to Ride. Table Top RPGs are becoming computerized, I have found. The D&D game I play has 5 laptops and 2 tablets at the table. There are even computer programs allowing you to build your own maps with Dungeon Tiles and run combats on them (they do not work very well, BTW, and forget doing anything in 3 dimensions).

      December 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  18. orakkus

    Bah, real gamers play on a PC.. the rest are just posers.

    December 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • anthony

      thats the same mentality as the console wars. Get over it, some people might not have the money to pour into a good gaming rig. But a console can provide the answer. Give it up.

      December 27, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
      • Cherryl

        Again, so cool that you're crveoing events now...I'd like to do that one day...[Cyril Dason]Sure you can... Some of the bloggers, go and cover events without invitation... its just wether you want to do it or not..[]

        February 1, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • Jina

      I have two huge boxes filled with old PC games that I can no longer play because my computer is too fast for them. That alone was a good enough reason for me to switch from PCs to consoles.

      Plus, I spend my entire workday in front of a computer and have no desire to do the same when I get home.

      December 28, 2011 at 8:59 am |
      • Mobius999

        If you can't figure out how to make those games work.....by all means, move to consoles. You were never a true pc gamer.

        December 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • boogerman

      troll

      December 29, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  19. LOL

    Geez Morgan, trying to ramp up the s3x appeal much? Trying to hold on to those few viewers that bailed when Oliva Munn and her bodacious bod left? Are we a bit jealous that dimwit Munn got more viewers simply because she's smokin' hot? Here's a hint, you are nowhere near Munn's level so stick to doing what you do best, being a geek.

    December 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Frangible

      Someone sounds frustrated.

      December 27, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
      • Latisha

        Liberals think the govt owes them a livingConservatives are the ploepe they expect to pay for it libs have brains, cons don't LOLWhen you wish to compare educations let me know.It will be my honor to embarrass you liberals follow the teachings of Christ I nominate this for joke of the year

        September 14, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      Really? Morgan Webb is not smoking hot? Really? REALLY?!
      Please punk, she'd use you up, spit you out, then go looking for a real man.
      Oliva Munn? Pshaw...

      December 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  20. Ziggy

    Morgan Webb is hot. End of discussion.

    December 27, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • The Real McCoy

      She's a dog, a woofer. She's just got a lot of makeup and dyed hair.

      December 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  21. vance...damonicus

    give me world of warcraft still. though skyrim is a must have if you have played the elder scrolls series since it's debut with the pc-cd game ARENA back in the mid 90's.

    and morgan webb would be welcome in my lfg anytime

    D&D still rules all

    December 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  22. FakeChristoforo

    Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I'll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Morgan.

    December 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  23. Meep

    YES!

    December 27, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  24. rad666

    Nothing beats a good old pinball machine.

    December 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Alan N.

      Like KISS or Mata Hari, perhaps? My friend has these machines in the Rec Room at his recording studio, and they get played all the time! There's just something about stalling the ball on the flipper and letting loose... LOL

      December 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • SilentBoy741

      1976 Gottlieb "Target Alpha" here. One of the last of the pure mechanicals, I believe. 200 lbs. of relays, and about 6 miles of wire. a real bear to keep running, but I still keep it playing.

      December 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Sandri

      There are still some of the older generation in Britain who don't trust and use banks. Daft rellay, if the bank gets robbed or blown up by terrorists, there's a government guarantee to protect your money, not if you keep it in your house (unless your insurance will cover it, which usually costs extra).

      July 3, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  25. Godstar

    Pretty much safe game choices. It's strange how those are mostly the big games of the last month, and there has been a whole year of great games hardly anyone talks about anymore.

    December 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • sean

      Ever wonder why the girl on G4 is always changing, but it’s the same guy season after season?

      Typical Corporate mindset. The girl knows nothing about the games, other than what they’re selling that month.

      Typical Corporate BS thinking that gamers are all guys who will buy anything from a pair of jiggle-wiggleys and don’t take wqomen gamers seriously.
      It’s sad because I know a lot of women gamers who could pwn you six ways to Sunday from a Harrier in BattleField 3 while running across a game field teabagging their fallen foes with the best of them, while a few men I know couldn’t tell you the difference between King Koopa and King Kong.

      And all she talks about is console this and console that. While every real gamer knows, that the PC Pwns Console, hands down.

      But, meh, believe what you want kiddies.
      The revolution will not be televised.

      December 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
      • bob-o

        actually morgan webb has been on xplay for years and really is a gamer. and i've also seen the exact opposite of what you're saying. morgan has been consistent every time i've watched it, but the male host has changed a few times.

        December 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
      • Not this one

        Morgan's been with G4 since it was TechTV , if I remember correctly was even on CallForHelp. She's been at this for a while.

        December 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
      • Scott

        Morgan Web has been with X-Play since the show began.

        December 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
      • Drew

        Her comments not withstanding, Morgan has been on G4/TechTV for like ten years – so not sure about that comment about the girl always changing.
        And PC pwns? Really? WoW was so 2007...

        December 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
      • Mike

        "Ever wonder why the girl on G4 is always changing, but it’s the same guy season after season?"

        Morgan Webb has been the host of X-Play since 2003 – eight years.

        December 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
      • MorganWebb

        Basically you dont know anything about me. :)

        December 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
      • Meep

        Morgan Webb has been on xplay since the beginning moron.

        December 27, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
      • Jonathan

        "And PC pwns? Really? WoW was so 2007..."

        Off the primary topic, but to be fair, PC Gaming's thriving compared to a few years ago. With consoles getting more expensive and desktop gaming getting cheaper, they're starting to come to a middle ground. Developers are noticing as more and more games are available for PC thanks to programs like Steam. With so few quality exclusives outside of the Nintendo consoles, PC has become a viable option for gamers. Honestly, I haven't touched my 360 in ages since most games I want can be gotten for cheaper by way of Steam.

        December 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
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  26. seraphim0

    Until you took an arrow to the knee.

    December 27, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  27. Deverica Wolf

    One day, I hope to marry my best friend's father too.

    December 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  28. Will

    G4 is a GARBAGE, CRAP NETWORK. Bring back TECHTV

    December 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • james bova

      TOTALLY AGREE - b4 mtv took it over, it at least some interesting 'gaming' options... now its just what, 4 programs ... and AOTS lost its edge with their female replacement... SUCH a WHINEY sounding 'B' ... they guy is the only thing saving that show

      December 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • sllbestpractices

      yea, wish TechTV was still around.

      December 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • moo

      Let me guess, someone stole your sweetroll?

      December 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      Agreed. TechTV was cool, G4 is so much pre-packaged, over-hyped, over-marketed junk. Like SyFy, but just as crappy.

      December 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  29. humtake

    Motion controls are a niche industry and hopefully they will stop trying to tout these as something spectacular. There are a few instances where it would be good for most games, but as a whole they are not useful. When you read a book, you don't want to act out every chapter you read. Just like when you play a game, you don't want to act out every situation you find yourself in.

    Motion controls are for family games. They are not for FPS, RPG, racing, etc....the core games of any system. Until we have a holodeck, motion controlling is only for people who find a controller too confusing.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  30. 1337Gamer

    for examples of trolls, read what Retspool commented. I thought the article was awesome as did the rest of the people who enjoy games.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
  31. Uncle Dutch

    I can't top that. Seriously...I would most assuredly find playing any game with that honey bunny in the room a most daunting prospect....waaaaaaaay too distracting. Don't blame me...smart women turn me on.

    The games currently in high rotation on my two dissimilar consoles are...
    F1 2011
    COD 3
    Battlefield 3
    Dirt 3

    That mug Santa didn't bring me Uncharted 3, and both Infamous & Red Dead Redemption taught me I just don't have the time for open world games, so Skyrim didn't make the shelf. My disappointment of the year was Need For Speed Unleashed. It was like there were gremlins steering the car and that the front wheels were attached to my G25 wheel via really long rubber bands.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  32. Parker

    Webb you are amazing! I feel the exact same way about games :3

    December 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  33. Retspool

    what a boring article, i would have fired the writer if i were cnn

    December 27, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • writerman

      Do you honestly know how hard it is to write an article and have it be correct with style guides and editing chains? Try it every once in a while. Oh! and I would have fired you for not being able to punctuate properly. Seems rather Slovenly done to me, and in rather poor taste. On the contrary I believed the story was entertaining and the writer did what he could with what he was given. Which is more than most people are willing to give.

      December 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
      • Fred Evil

        Seriously. Capitalization and punctuation all but ignored by this cat, and he thinks he has the FAINTEST clue how to write an article?!

        December 28, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  34. GeekFurious

    Oh, Morgan. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day playing Uncharted on my PS3? Thou art more lovely and more serious gamer than I will ever be. Rough winds to shake the grenades from my Battlefield 3 avatar. And Skyrim's 100+ hour hold on my life hath all too short a length to ever fully satisfy.

    December 27, 2011 at 9:58 am |